Beautiful Music for Ugly Children

the cover of the book BEAUTIFUL MUSIC FOR UGLY CHILDREN

Yay for Gabe and John!

BEAUTIFUL MUSIC FOR UGLY CHILDREN is wandering freely in the world, and it’s so exciting! I love watching what happens when a book is in the wild–you just don’t know where it will go.

If you are unfamiliar with Gabe’s world and need a basic synopsis of the book, here you go:

Gabe Williams is a guy with big summer plans.  He’s got a job as a radio DJ, following in the footsteps of his mentor, and he wants to move far away after graduation.  He’s also hoping his best friend Paige will fall in love with him—she’s smart, she’s hot, and she tolerates his music habit.  He couldn’t ask for more. His only problem?   The rest of the world has known him as Elizabeth for the last eighteen years.

BEAUTIFUL MUSIC FOR UGLY CHILDREN is the story of how Gabe learns to be a guy so he can leave Elizabeth behind.  Some good things happen in the course of his summer—Gabe graduates, gets asked out, and gets loved by the fans of his show.  But he also gets outed and threatened, and he must defend himself against violence that’s rooted in fear.  In essence, Gabe’s journey to find himself is the same one we all take.  His is just electrified, amplified, and broadcast into the night.

And the most amazing thing has happened:  BEAUTIFUL MUSIC won the 2014 Stonewall Award from the American Library Association!  It’s an award given to books “of exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender experience.” I had no idea BMUC was still eligible, but evidently their award period runs from October of 2012 (when it was released) to September of 2013.  Who knew?  I was astonished to receive the phone call–what a huge, huge honor.  I am humbled.  BMUC is also the winner of a 2014  IPPY Award (Independent Publisher Book Award)–a silver medal in their Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans Fiction category.

BMUC also received some generous honors last year from the ALA.  In January 2013 it was named a Top Ten pick for the 2013 Rainbow List, and it was also placed on the 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults list.  So exciting!  The announcements were also wonderful, unexpected surprises.  Being loved on by librarians is pretty awesome.  In June 2013 it also received a silver medal in ForeWord Review’s Book of the Year Awards for YA fiction! These awards are for books from small and independent presses, so yay for Flux!  It was also honored as a Lambda Literary Award finalist in the Children’s/Young Adult category.  That nomination was HUGE to me, too.  Huge.

One other surprise happened the same week the ALA awards lists came out:  BEAUTIFUL MUSIC was featured in an article about YA fiction in The Advocate, one of the largest LGBT magazines out there.  And they used my purple hair photo!  It feels really good to be acknowledged by them.  A student showed me the article, and I squealed when I saw it.  Not gonna lie.

Here’s a link to the Publisher’s Weekly review as well as the Kirkus review.  You can buy it at IndieBound, Barnes and Noble, or other fine establishments.

40 Responses to Beautiful Music for Ugly Children

  1. Adam Hornyak says:

    Hi Kristin,

    Amy Tipton asked me to touch base with you regarding Beautiful Music for Ugly Children. My name is Adam Hornyak and I am a featured writer for Front Row Monthly magazine (www.frontrowmonthly.com). We recently developed a spinoff site devoted to authors and aspiring writers called Front Row Lit (www.frontrowlit.com). The purpose of the site is to provide our readers with tips on writing, book reviews, author publicity, and we accept creative writing submissions and poetry from our readers. We would love to feature an excerpt from your book, or detailed synopsis if you are interested. If you’d like we can certainly include links back to your website and Amazon order page. All I would need from you is whatever you would like to show off, and I can take it from there.

    Look forward to hearing from you,

    Adam

  2. amanda says:

    i wish to know more about this please.

    • kirstincm says:

      Where did my comment go? AAACK! Amanda, did you ever find out more about BEAUTIFUL MUSIC? Please let me know if I can get you more information.

  3. Jeri Morgan says:

    I loved this book and I’m not a young adult. I’m gender variant, a radio geek and living to “two worlds.” Gabe is in radio and has “come out.” I purchased two copies and will give the second copy to my local LGBT Center library: it has an active young adult program.
    Congrats and thank you!

    • kirstincm says:

      Hi, Jeri–thanks so much for the compliment! And thanks for sharing BMUC with friends. That’s kind of you. My apologies for the delay in responding to this comment–my notifications aren’t working! : (

  4. Jody says:

    I just wanted to say that I really liked this book! I may not be trans but I know exactly how Gabe feels. I’m sorta genderqueer, well kind of. But I have fallen in love with some of my friends and they reacted the same way.

  5. Kay Kilty says:

    I really enjoyed reading “Beautiful Music for Ugly Children”. You created a great Characters that people can relate too. I’m a trans just like Gabe and know how he feels. I also liked your author note were you explained what transgender is.

    • kirstincm says:

      Thank you, Kay! I’m glad you felt you could relate. And I’m sorry I’m late in replying–my comment alert thingy is messed up.

  6. Sarah says:

    I. Love. This. Book.
    Being genderqueer and obsessed with almost every artist mentioned in this book, I fangirl-squealed every other page while reading this.
    Let’s just say my English teacher gave me some really weird looks.
    Basically, I can really relate to Gabe and I love how you wrote him correctly. Thanks!

    • kirstincm says:

      Thank *you*, Sarah! It’s always awesome to hear someone say “I can really relate,” and I’m glad you enjoyed the music, too. Tell your English teacher to come talk to me, if s/he gives you any crap about enjoying a book! : )

  7. Rory says:

    Best. Book. Ever. Or at least the best book that is not a dystopia. I myself am a triangle although the only people that know are my closest friends…. unfortunately. I had never read a LGBT themed book before, but I loved this one! I think it’s a book every person who exists needs to read because soooooososososos many people on this planet misunderstand gender and the difference between gender and sex. In my English class we are required to give book talks every month, so I’m going to give one over your book tomorrow! Honestly, I am kinda terrified. Public speaking is hard, but considering most of the people in my class don’t understand gender…. that doesn’t make it any easier. But I think everybody needs to know about it and I hope I can get a few people to read your book! Thanks soooo much for writing this and sharing it with the world! It has an excellent plot and a wonderful message! I LOVE YOU!

    • kirstincm says:

      Rory! I’m so sorry I didn’t see your post until now. Thanks so much for sharing Gabe with others, and I’m happy happy happy the book touched your heart. : ) That’s the best kind of compliment an author can have. <3

  8. Michelle says:

    This was one of the best books I have ever read. The book left me in tears and made me want to transport into the book and live there. I’m not a trans, but I can connect to Gabe. It feels like he’s a part of my own B track that’s begging to be played. You are such an inspiration to me and you’re now my favorite author. Keep up the good work!

    • kirstincm says:

      Aw, Michelle–thank you–I appreciate being someone’s favorite author. What a kind thing to say! I’m glad you felt connected to Gabe. That was my goal, to get readers to connect with him on several levels.

  9. ShiftdelKN says:

    Nice reading on the Youtube event thing today, just got my copy of your book =)

  10. ShiftdelKN says:

    Hey Kirstin, awesome book. Sad how Gabe got outed, and sad that yes, there does exist people who wish to inflict bodily harm to another simply because they have different lifestyles. The death threats made to Gabe once outed is probably more realistic than we’d like to believe methinks :-(

    By the way, the eBook version on my phone was weird. I’d see messages like, “[NAME] IS THE NEW ELVIS BECAUSE … ” but on my tablet at the exact same location I didn’t see that. In fact, where it gets stranger is that when I search for it on my tablet, it does exist, but it’s hidden behind that city silhouette image.

    • kirstincm says:

      Thanks for coming to the YouTube event! I’m sorry the eBook version was weird on your phone–I have no idea how to make that better, but I’ll alert Flux to it. Were you reading a Kindle or a Nook version?

      Death threads are definitely all too real. : ( In general, the casual cruelty that trans* individuals receive (below the level of death threats, but above the level of regular unkindness) is pretty unreal.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Nuha says:

    Hi, I really enjoyed this book. I honestly wasn’t expecting so much from it, but it was amazing. One of my best friends is a transgender, like Gabe, except he is a boy on the outside but he’s really a girl. It was really cool seeing that someone else could under what he (She) is going through. I think I’ll have to show her this book, she’ll love it.
    Also, I want to thank you for writing this. Not many people understand things like homosexuality and being transgender and I think that this book might help some of them see what really happens with these people.
    I also really enjoyed how easy Gabe is to relate to. I have experienced a similar struggle that he faced, and that’s how my family dealt with me being bisexual. I told them about it, and I don’t think they really wanted to believe me. They got really upset at first and started saying I’d go to Hell for this (my family is one of those crazy “shove my religion down your throat” types). Right away, my mother told me to read the Bible and work on correcting my sins. She then called my dad (they’re separated, not that that is important) and he was even more irate than she was. He told me that “There’s no such thing as ‘bi’, you’re either straight or gay. And if you’re gay, you’re wrong in Allah’s (he’s Muslim while my mum is Catholic) eyes and you’re going to burn in Hell.” and he said no daughter of his was going to be gay…
    Later on, they began to almost just ignore me. Now, it’s better but they act like I never told them I’m into girls and guys, and they’ll say really rude and homophobic things around me and expect me to agree. It’s horrible. But I know it’s better than trying to fight them. I’m just going to let them believe what they want for now, once I’m out of High School, I can be the real me.
    I guess you could say even I have my A side and my B side. My A side is the very shy girl who just ignores the mean things my parents say and acts like everything is perfect. While my B side is the girl who is open about her sexuality and is absolutely fearless.

    • kirstincm says:

      Nuha, thank you for writing, and thank you for your kind words about Gabe! I am so sorry you’re facing conflict with your family. : ( In my eyes, Allah and God love you as much now as they ever did, and I’m sorry your parents don’t agree. Hopefully they’ll get educated and stop being unkind. : ( I’m glad you have your B side–hope you can start living it soon! You could also show your friend the book BEING EMILY, by Rachel Gold. That book has a trans* girl for a narrator, and your friend might really love it. Take care–I’m sending you good energy for peace with your parents. Stay strong.

  12. Mark says:

    I love your book. I’m old enough to be Gabe’s dad, but I almost pulled an all nighter reading it :) I am a transman and a bit of a music nerd as well, but – due to circumstances – needed more time than Gabe to come out of the closet. Also, like Gabe, I have a few wonderful friends I can lean on, and occasionally someone like Heather crosses my path. I can definitely relate to some of the things happening to Gabe. Thank you for writing such a little gem (I love the humour in it). Will there be a sequel? I would definitely read that, too.

    • kirstincm says:

      Hey, Mark! No, no sequel, though Gabe will make a guest appearance (just a tiny one, as a party guest) in the sequel to a friend’s book. I’m glad you enjoyed the book and took the time to let me know. That means a ton to me! Thanks for your kind words. : )

  13. Alexander Christopher Parham says:

    Hey, my names Alex. I am ftm, like Gabe. :D
    I really loved you book. I borrowed it from the library
    and i just bought it off of amazon, waiting on it as we speak.
    I was wonder what the websites were that you added to the back
    of your book? if you could, send them to me. it would be a
    lot of help. Thanks.
    -Alex

  14. Ash says:

    I just finished reading your book. I really enjoyed it and was wondering if you’re considering a sequel?

    • kirstincm says:

      Hey, Ash–no sequel planned. I like letting folks make up their own minds about whether or not Gabe and Paige end up together. I know what I think, but not everybody agrees! For the record, I like Gabe’s vision of the future. : ) Thanks so much for reading! Glad you enjoyed it.

  15. Ezra says:

    The note in the back of this was quite offensive and cissexist. As a cis individual you should’ve done more research before writing this.

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  18. Kayla P. says:

    I normally don’t post my reviews for books online, but Beautiful Music for Ugly Children is 150% deserving. Where do I start? I borrowed this book from my local library, and read it within 4 hours; it was extremely difficult to put the book down. As an LGBTQ member, I was drawn to this plot about a transgender man. As I read, I fell head-over-heals for Gabe, Paige, and John. I couldn’t wait to turn the page to find out what would happen next. I must say, I was a little disappointed by the ending. I wish we got more answers about Gabe’s future with Paige. However, I would strongly recommend this book to everyone I know. I felt as if Gabe was very relatable for LGBTQ teens. It is also very informative about transgender people, while also being comical. It has an amazing plot, and is written beautifully. Beautiful Music For Ugly Children is one of my new favorites. I will be adding it to my collection so I can re-read it. Thank you for writing this phenomenal book. I’m sorry my review did not give it justice.

    • kirstincm says:

      Kayla, thank you so much for posting your comment! I hadn’t seen it until this very minute, so apologies for not replying sooner. Thanks for your kind words, and I’m glad you enjoyed the book. You get to make up Gabe’s future with Paige–that’s part of the fun. : ) Glad it’s one of your new favorites. Thanks again for letting me know.

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  20. Taylor says:

    Is there going to be a second book to Beautiful Music for Ugly Children? If not please write another one I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH<3

    • kirstincm says:

      Hi,Taylor–there is no sequel to BEAUTIFUL MUSIC currently in the works. : \ You get to make up Gabe’s story from here on out. I have another book coming out in 2016, and you can find info about it on the ORIGINAL FAKE page. Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m sorry I didn’t see this comment before now–I apologize for the late reply!!

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    Never mind found it (:

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  25. Emily Elliot says:

    I am currently reading the book (I’m on Lady Gaga is the new elvis…)and I absolutely love it so far! The problem is I’m borrowing it from a friend so I will have to go buy my own soon:) . the writing is excellent and the characters are fabulous! Over all amazing work from a very talented author.

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